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Divorce/Separation :
It Clicked: Time to Go

Topic is Sleeping.

 HotPinkFlairPen (original poster new member #82968) posted at 6:28 PM on Monday, August 21st, 2023

After two and a half hours of tearfully begging my husband to be understanding of my panicked response when I found inappropriate texts from a CoW on his phone, it hit me: shit, this is D Day 3. His explanations for what the messages are are bullshit. Him telling me that I'm too intense and paranoid is gaslighting perfected after years of practice.

It clicked. The things that never added up in our marriage? All lies. Why did I still smell cigarettes on his breath when he quit in 2012? Because he didn't quit. Why was he still Facebook friends with his AP after he said he blocked her? Because he didn't block her. Why did my family and many of my friends treat me like an overly fragile crybaby? Because he made an effort to convince them this was the case. Why did his story keep changing when I asked him the same questions about the A? Because he was lying. Why did many innocuous conversations turn into hours of me crying and begging for him to be nice, just be nice? Because he deliberately pushed my buttons to make me seem, and feel, unstable.

I was always willing to see good intentions and honest mistakes in his behavior, but it finally occurred to me to take Occam's razor to his seemingly chaotic behavior... turns out, I felt isolated and abandoned by him because those were his goals.

He's a horrible person. He's already planting seeds in his support system that I am crazy and want to steal the kids.

How do I rescue myself and my babies from this hell?

BW, 34 years old, married 10 years. Twin sons born 2021.

Dday 1: 2/16/23. Dday 2: 3/16/23 (STBXWH tried to rekindle A, AP sent NC). Dday 3: 8/20/23 (new AP, same bulls***)

posts: 36   ·   registered: Feb. 27th, 2023   ·   location: Back to the US after 10ish years abroad
id 8805119

Catwoman ( member #1330) posted at 7:16 PM on Monday, August 21st, 2023

First off, build your own support system, which should include a good IC and an equally good attorney. Note--do NOT use your attorney for "support" so much as to give you a picture of what you can expect in a divorce.

Start practicing "grey rock." Google it. Don't react to anything he says or does while you are getting your ducks in a row.

You know and even *I* know he's not going to change. So it's probably better to get out now, before your kids have too many memories of an intact family.

Serial cheating and chronic lying are VERY difficult habits to break. Someone who is engaged and ingrained in these behaviors has to change a LOT about themselves, and most don't care to do so.

There are no good intentions nor honest mistakes here. Get your ducks in a row quietly. Don't tell anyone but your IC and your attorney. Just do it, and when the time is right, have him served.


FBS: Married 20 years, 2 daughters 27 and 24. Divorced by the grace of GOD.
D-Days: 2/23/93; 10/11/97; 3/5/03
Ex & OW Broke up 12-10
"An erection does not count as personal growth."

posts: 33182   ·   registered: Apr. 5th, 2003   ·   location: Ohio
id 8805124

BearlyBreathing ( member #55075) posted at 8:42 PM on Monday, August 21st, 2023

Cat woman gave great advice. He’s shown you who he is. And rather than change and become a safe partner, he is going to continue to manipulate and gaslight you. I am so sorry.

See a few lawyers without telling him. Start planning your escape. And IC is a good idea to help you figure out what you want.
(And as you gather the info you need for the lawyer meetings, be careful and keep copies where he can’t access.)

You are strong and you have given R your all. Now it is time to create a healthy, truthful, authentic life for your and your littles.

Me: BS 57 (49 on d-day)Him: *who cares ;-) *. D-Day 8/15/2016 LTA. Kinda liking my new life :-)

**horrible typist, lots of edits to correct. :-/ **

posts: 6007   ·   registered: Sep. 10th, 2016   ·   location: Northern CA
id 8805134

Fold123 ( member #83366) posted at 9:33 PM on Monday, August 21st, 2023

Hugs to you, HPFP. You've been on my mind, and I had been hoping your absence from posting was because things were going in the right direction towards the reconciliation you had been hoping for. I am so, so sorry that it had been false R and your WH has been continuing to disappoint you with lies, gaslighting, and other crazy and unfair actions. After all you have done to support him through his mental health crisis, solo parenting abroad, losing both of your jobs, repatriating, and holding it all together. And this is how he repays you? By staying in touch with this nutty woman on another continent and lying to you about it? Totally unacceptable. I am so sorry and I am mad for you. BIG mad.

All of that said....I think you are making the right decision to separate. He has proven he is incapable (for now at least) of stepping up, making sacrifices, or thinking beyond himself. He is selfish and harmful in this state, and it is clear that his attempts to "do the work," get mental health help, fix his addiction issues, and deal with the fallout of the affair are not genuine. He can't even stop talking to somebody else's wife in a different country in order to focus on healing himself and you and your marriage. You and your sweet boys need and deserve 10x what he is offering (also: I would not give his "threat" of taking the boys to heart in any way. Look at the paper trail he has created for himself the past several months. There is no judge on this planet who would place the kids, solely/primarily, with him).

You will know what to do because you are extremely organized, mature, and driven: research attorneys and schedule an in-take appointment. Outline a separation, custody, and support agreement that works for you. Pull your financial info (figures and account numbers); write up your division of assets; make copies of everything (tax returns, ID cards); determine whose names are on what assets (car titles, retirement accounts). Research how your state works for separating and filing (you may not yet have residency). Just get prepped with the data and info to start. Making these steps will give you some sense of resolve and accomplishment, which will help a TINY bit in feeling like you have any sense of control over things. Are you still at your parents' home? Could he be asked to move out? He should!

You are SO strong and impressive. You will get through whatever happens with grace. I know it.

posts: 271   ·   registered: May. 19th, 2023
id 8805138

 HotPinkFlairPen (original poster new member #82968) posted at 11:15 PM on Monday, August 21st, 2023

Thank you everyone.

@Fold, the old AP dumped him and apparently refers to him only as "the mistake."

After only weeks at a new job, he's found another AP. Guess he knows what to look for, now. At least she's not married.

@Catwoman, I tried grey rock and he completely short-circuited. Wow. Just, wow.

@Bearly, that is really good advice. I will create separate backups so that I won't lose them due to his tampering.

I am trying to work up the nerve to tell my lawyer. It feels so scary.

BW, 34 years old, married 10 years. Twin sons born 2021.

Dday 1: 2/16/23. Dday 2: 3/16/23 (STBXWH tried to rekindle A, AP sent NC). Dday 3: 8/20/23 (new AP, same bulls***)

posts: 36   ·   registered: Feb. 27th, 2023   ·   location: Back to the US after 10ish years abroad
id 8805145

 HotPinkFlairPen (original poster new member #82968) posted at 1:51 AM on Tuesday, August 22nd, 2023

Oh and Fold!

Thank you for outlining the steps. I meant to add that.

Thankfully I have maintained my residency over the years, and we are in a no-fault state with an apparently straightforward process. The custody thing is nerve-wracking, though. Raising children with STBXWH is nerve-wracking.

One day at a time.

BW, 34 years old, married 10 years. Twin sons born 2021.

Dday 1: 2/16/23. Dday 2: 3/16/23 (STBXWH tried to rekindle A, AP sent NC). Dday 3: 8/20/23 (new AP, same bulls***)

posts: 36   ·   registered: Feb. 27th, 2023   ·   location: Back to the US after 10ish years abroad
id 8805155

homewrecked2011 ( member #34678) posted at 4:07 AM on Tuesday, August 22nd, 2023

One Day At A Time is correct! My sons would have been so much better off if I had divorced my ws when they were very young. It was so traumatic for their Dad to walk out when they were 12 and 10. When they are very young you’ll give them a very stable life. They’ll prob visit their Dad, but if he’s like my xh he rarely saw them once the D was final. Thank goodness.

I got a counselor at the domestic violence center because emotional abuse is domestic violence. She really helped me stay in reality. They truly want to stop the circle of abuse so she worked with my sons too.

I surrounded myself with people who believed me, it’s so important.

You can also call the Alanon 800 number and listen in/participate in phone meetings. They are set up for families/friends of alcoholics, but the program really helps when dealing with any disordered person. They have specific steps and valuable resources on how to
make a good, solid life for you and your children when their Dad is trying to mess that up.

Sometimes He calms the storm. Sometimes He lets the storm rage, but calms His child. Dday 12/19/11I went to an attorney and had him served. Shocked the hell out of him, with D papers, I'm proud to say!D final10/30/2012Me-55

posts: 5503   ·   registered: Jan. 30th, 2012
id 8805160

Fold123 ( member #83366) posted at 7:14 PM on Tuesday, August 22nd, 2023

Hot Pink: Oof, a NEW AP? I somehow missed that. I am so very sorry. Like advice you and others gave me: you have to trust that he is showing you who he is. Either who he really is or a side to him that he has developed over time. Regardless, this has become an untenable situation and I think you are wise to begin implementing your exit strategy.

You've got a jump on knowing the legal aspects on your state, which is a plus. Keep up the info gathering and analysis while you begin to sort through what to do in what order. When the adrenaline from making the decision, doing the planning, and taking all the steps begins to wear off, the emotional hurricane will remain (ask me how I know!), and you will need good people around you to help prop you up, keep going, and starting a fresh life. You have your family and friends and all of us here behind you. Keep posting.

posts: 271   ·   registered: May. 19th, 2023
id 8805199

kiwilee ( member #10426) posted at 2:26 AM on Saturday, August 26th, 2023

Just keep going step by step and before you know it you will be free!

posts: 663   ·   registered: Apr. 17th, 2006
id 8805677

 HotPinkFlairPen (original poster new member #82968) posted at 4:55 AM on Saturday, September 2nd, 2023

Thanks everyone for the support.

STBXWH is clearly spiraling. His parents have come to prop him up for a bit. Every time they try to give some sort of excuse for his behavior, I respond with, "I deserve an honest and faithful partner."

That's a good line. Highly recommend it.

I can't shake the "oops didn't realize there was one more step" startle reflex of realizing it's over. Ten years, a significant amount of my life, memories and associations, it's ending here. This is really my life. STBXWH is garbage, but I still feel like I'm tearing my own heart in half.

This affair shit has owned me for 6 months. I don't know how to talk to people about anything else. I miss myself.

BW, 34 years old, married 10 years. Twin sons born 2021.

Dday 1: 2/16/23. Dday 2: 3/16/23 (STBXWH tried to rekindle A, AP sent NC). Dday 3: 8/20/23 (new AP, same bulls***)

posts: 36   ·   registered: Feb. 27th, 2023   ·   location: Back to the US after 10ish years abroad
id 8806328

phmh ( member #34146) posted at 11:10 PM on Sunday, September 3rd, 2023

I hardly ever come to SI anymore, as infidelity has been out of my life for over a decade and it’s truly hard for me to believe sometimes how much better life is that I ever could have imagined when I was first going through this and at the point that you are now. Just wanted to be one of your cheerleaders, and to reassure you that things are going to get so much better. I know it’s hard to see now, and there will be peaks and valleys to come. But once the divorce is final and you can begin your new normal, you have the opportunity to transform your life into one filled only with love, honor, and peace. It’s so great on this side, and I know in a few years, you will have a hard time believe that this garbage man is someone you were willing to give up so much for. Congratulations on finding yourself again - you’ve got this!

Me: BW, divorced, now fabulous and happy!

Married: 11 years, no kids

Character is destiny

posts: 4993   ·   registered: Dec. 8th, 2011
id 8806449

kiwilee ( member #10426) posted at 5:39 AM on Friday, September 29th, 2023

How you doing

posts: 663   ·   registered: Apr. 17th, 2006
id 8809825

 HotPinkFlairPen (original poster new member #82968) posted at 4:52 AM on Saturday, October 7th, 2023

Hi everyone. Thanks for checking in.

PHMH, I feel very blessed that you found your way to my thread. I need cheerleaders as I try to detox from a decade of being told daily that I was insane, delusional, broken and weak.

Thanks for the bump, Kiwi.

I couldn't follow the "hide it until you serve him" advice. I tried for 24 hours, but the idea of being around him, keeping the kids around, pretending everything was okay... I couldn't do it. I needed to be away from him or I was going to just fall into the same trap, believe all the gaslighting. The kids and I live with my parents. I didn't want to see him or talk to him. I couldn't act like it was all okay. It was too much. After all this shit, after he deprived me of love, a job, a home, a community... I couldn't act like anything about his behavior was okay.

So he knows that it's over. He knows I have a lawyer. Right now the lawyer is just there to help us file and he says he'll be nice. I don't really trust that, put I'll push as far as I can. I was upfront that the lawyer represents me and my interests, if he feels like I'm screwing him over, he can get his own lawyer. Not that we have any money left.

The grief is overwhelming. STBXWH is so volatile and unpredictable, but of course that's not something he'll admit to. His side of the story was that the string of betrayals I discovered on DDay 3 were... Well, either they didn't happen, or he heavily implies that it was an overreaction to his "normal" response to my "intense" behavior. Because asking your WS to keep his phone open and available to show he has nothing to hide, you know, so you can try to rebuild trust, that is controlling. That's a bridge too far.

He wants joint custody of the kids. Hell to the effing no. Over and over he's made choices that directly affected their well-being. Again, I can tell they are a pawn he's using to give himself the sense that he has won something. Like we're in the world's most pointless and painful pissing match. He has mentioned that he feels like I'm winning. Tonight I told him that the only win I wanted was to have the honest and faithful husband I thought he could be. He told me, "I'm not a bad person, you know."

This is coming after numerous episodes of him berating me, both through messaging and in front of my parents. He's painting the picture that I'm some parasitic freeloader who's never going back to work. That I'm making all this "passive income" off of him. That his drinking buddies had warned me about him years. Because I'm the real monster, I suppose.

Not that I need to spell it out, but this is such nonsense. How much money has he given me to support the boys during this time? Nothing. Not. A. Cent. In fact, he stole $4000 out of my bank account, claiming that he had no money and had maxed his credit card on "living expenses."

He's also admitted, and I've uncovered a lot of evidence to support, that all through our marriage he has been poisoning the well in terms of our friends, telling his drinking buddies about how broken, crazy, controlling and unhinged I am. I always knew something was... off. My friends thought I was a good person, and they liked him. Our mutual friends thought I was a good person, and they liked him. His friends liked him and thought I... was an unhinged maniac. He even had my mother convinced that she couldn't tell me any bad news, that she had to send it to him so that he could, I dunno, emotionally dumb it down, because I was just so fragile. Then, of course, to me, he would always act like my mom was an unhinged maniac who couldn't even message her own daughter about family emergencies. Like my family didn't care if I knew what was going on.

He says that I'm too controlling because I asked him to stop spending thousands of dollars without permission; was concerned about his drinking, smoking, and binge eating; and had gotten very angry when he had signed a year contract for a job, tying us to a foreign country that I was miserable in, without consulting me. My interest in our stability, health and emotional well-being were always recast as me being irrational, selfish, and abusive.

Weird, but, I never accused him of being abusive. He'd betray me, I'd make up an excuse for him. He'd berate me until I locked myself in a bathroom, sobbing with my ears covered, I'd make up an excuse for him. He'd get in trouble for sexual harassment, causing his friends to turn on him, I'd believe that it was all just a big misunderstanding. His friends would act disdainful towards me and treat me oddly, he'd say I was paranoid and that they liked me a lot, I'd accept his excuse at face value. He would drive like a maniac with our boys in the car just because he was mad and wanted me to be afraid, I made an excuse for him. He stole thousands of dollars from me, which he spent on alcohol, drugs, expensive meals and other frivolous things--I would cry for days, then make an excuse for him, all the while not daring to spend money on myself for things like socks and feminine products, in an effort to try to keep some money in reserve. Good god, he even confessed that he had attempted to rape his best friend and I made an excuse for him!

I've retained a lawyer and we're filing jointly at this point. He is suspicious of everything that I do (what the FLIP is up with liars accusing everyone else of being untrustworthy?!?!!) and I'm bracing myself for him to pull some other stunt and prolong my attachment to him and cause me more pain.

He told me that his friend provided the court with a video of her husband beating her, threatening her with a gun and screaming in the faces of his children, and that the friend still agreed to let her ex have 50/50 custody. Very stupid choice on friend's part, if true. rolleyes

However, this does seem to reinforce that I should have a lot of documentation handy. I plant to ask the lawyer next week but, in the meantime, any suggestions?

[Edit: thought I had written something wrong, hadn't, but then remembered another example of abuse to add to the list. Because I need to bring this out after all the denial.]

[This message edited by HotPinkFlairPen at 4:58 AM, Saturday, October 7th]

BW, 34 years old, married 10 years. Twin sons born 2021.

Dday 1: 2/16/23. Dday 2: 3/16/23 (STBXWH tried to rekindle A, AP sent NC). Dday 3: 8/20/23 (new AP, same bulls***)

posts: 36   ·   registered: Feb. 27th, 2023   ·   location: Back to the US after 10ish years abroad
id 8810899

homewrecked2011 ( member #34678) posted at 7:22 AM on Saturday, October 7th, 2023

In Alanon, I was told I’d never be able to convince my alcoholic husband that I needed things, or time with my friends, or especially that I needed to D him. So, basically they said as long as I know in my mind I need to do xyz, and it’s important to me and my children, then I just have to do it without explaining anything to him.

He can ask for 50/50 custody, but that does not mean he’ll get it. And if you give 50/50 custody up front then he’ll start telling everyone you didn’t fight for your own children and he’s a great Dad. barf and then he’ll start trying to get them 60% of the time, etc. So try to get as much time as you can, then if he gets into a treatment program later you can let you children spend more time with him-(but it has to be a real program or therapy, not just words)

As far as evidence, my atty told me to keep a secret log of when he sees the kids and when he calls them while we are separated. It was freaking hilarious when my now xh told his atty he wanted every other week with the kids, and my atty showed his atty that he was only getting the kids on Monday evenings for dinner and random, unreliable Sat afternoons. He didn’t even ask to have them 1 full weekend. smh

I think you could get a PI. to get it recorded him drinking and driving with the kids or a photo of him drinking alot with dinner, and then driving the kids home. Ask around or better yet ask your atty for a PI recommendation, or call a few PIs in your area.
I talked to 1 and it was only going to be 500 for 10 hours or 250 for 5 hours. They are experts at ways to track and then going to the location to photo. For another client, the PI parked a car on the street with video running and it showed her H drinking a lot then driving the kids to the beer store. That Dad then had supervised visitations only. If your ws doesn’t slip up now, and you don’t get photos, then it can be done later, you’ll prob have to take him to back to court to try to change visitation-someone on this site did that!!

My xh didn’t give me child support at first. I wasted all my money on food, not knowing I could get $580.SNAP until we had preliminary hearing and temp child support. If you go online to SNAP, you can put in you are responsible for buying groceries for you and your children, even though you’re at your parents, you might be able to get SNAP funds, unless you have money in the bank, then prob no.

I do think it’s better to get a divorce when the children are little. My kids had their whole way of life ripped out from under them. After my WH left, I told my kids our property lines were our safe zone and now at 26 and 23 they thank me for what I did for them. smile Your children will have memories of a calm home with you beginning now.

And I’d stop talking to your WS as much as you possibly can. He’s never going to understand what you’re doing. Def try to get a counselor at a Domestic violence center or anywhere really, even find Alanon meetings. They are free and they have so many tools to help with dealing with an alcoholic.

Long term, some people on SI have had extended trouble with their WS, but some have the opposite problem-the WS just moved on and leaves the children alone. It’s so incredibly sad, but if my kids had been around their Dad a lot in their teen years, they wouldn’t be the great, kind, calm, dependable, hardworking guys they are today-thanks to some great male role models they had in my family and in sports, then in marching band.

You can do this! One day at a time. And don’t forget to do fun with your children!

(Sorry this is so long) blush

Sometimes He calms the storm. Sometimes He lets the storm rage, but calms His child. Dday 12/19/11I went to an attorney and had him served. Shocked the hell out of him, with D papers, I'm proud to say!D final10/30/2012Me-55

posts: 5503   ·   registered: Jan. 30th, 2012
id 8810905

Fold123 ( member #83366) posted at 8:42 PM on Sunday, October 8th, 2023

HotPinkFlairPen. I am so sorry that things have gotten to such a difficult and untenable point. You knew your WH was a loose cannon and here he is firing away at you, your kids, and your sanity. From your posts, a few things are extremely evident to all of us here: (1) he has deep-seated mental health and addiction issues that will likely forever cloud his ability to have a healthy relationship with people, and (2) you are incredibly resilient and capable of getting through this.

I am proud of you for filing. I am proud of you for building evidence. And I am proud of you for admitting you covered for him in a number of ways and that that all stops now.

Do not listen to his likely manufactured anecdote about his friend. He is telling you that hoping you may somehow believe that (1) a judge would permit that custody arrangement despite bringing such damning abusive evidence, and (2) you will somehow be persuaded to let him receive 50% custody because what he has done is "not as bad" as what this other loser husband did to his friend. You are obviously too intelligent to buy into any of that.

You are smart to begin to build evidence. Data is your friend here. The qualitative may play in -- evidence from friends and family of him "poisoning the well" and lying about you. But that can be harder to obtain and is not as useful in these matters. The quantitative is where you want to focus. Echoing other good advice you have received, I'd begin doing the following:

(1) financial forensics: pull up your full financial picture and go through each account. Take screenshots and write logs of when he accessed funds from your individual account(s) without consent. Download the deposit/transfer history of all accounts to show he has not provided financial support since your separation (unless you had a separation agreement stipulating support this won't help a ton other than having it documented that he is not helping provide)

(2) communications log: go through your texts, call log, emails, etc. and document as much as you can about the frequency of his visits and calls with the twins.

(3) document his instability: going back even before the "big incident," document a log of his alcohol and substance abuse, rehabilitative measures, the mental break overseas, and stateside treatments.

Just taking some of these first steps is really good, HPFP. Do not underestimate your strength to continue doing what is best for your kids and for yourself. We are here for you.

posts: 271   ·   registered: May. 19th, 2023
id 8811006
Topic is Sleeping.
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